Pakistan rode on a career-best 5 for 43 from Hasan Ali and an impressive debut century by Imam-ul-Haq to thump Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the third of five One-Day Internationals in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (October 18) and take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the series.
Hasan once again impressed with his bag of tricks in returning 5-34 – his second five-for in ODIs – to help Pakistan dismiss Sri Lanka for a paltry 208 in 48.2 overs before Imam’s 125-ball 100 saw them to the target in 42.3 overs.
It was another clinical performance that gave Pakistan their seventh win in a row in the format, while Sri Lanka’s wretched form continued as they recorded their tenth defeat in a row, stretching back to the series at home against Zimbabwe in June-July, which they lost 3-2.
Imam, whose selection had been questioned because his uncle Inzamam-ul-Haq is the chief selector, proved his ability and his detractors wrong with confident batsmanship, scoring five fours and two sixes in his 125-ball 100.
Quickest to 50 ODI wickets
|Ajantha Mendis||Sri Lanka||19|
|Mitchell McClenaghan||New Zealand||23|
|Matt Henry||New Zealand||25|
Luck was also on his side when he was on 89, as he was given out caught behind off Lahiru Gamage, but TV umpire Richard Kettleborough discovered that the ball had touched the turf before lodging in Niroshan Dickwella’s gloves behind the stumps.
Imam came back and completed his century with a single but was dismissed two balls later when he gloved a pull off Thisara Perera to Dickwella.
He became only the second Pakistani – after Salim Elahi against Sri Lanka in Gujranwala in 2005 – and 13th batsman in the world to score a hundred on ODI debut.
Imam overshadowed Fakhar Zaman in a brisk 78-run opening stand. Zaman fell for 29 while Babar Azam, who came in next on the back of two centuries in the first two games, scored 30.
That left Pakistan at 144 for 2, and it was over to Mohammad Hafeez, who scored an unbeaten 34 from 52 balls, and Imam, who fell with the target six runs away, to take Pakistan across the line.
— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) October 18, 2017
Earlier, Hasan rocked the Sri Lankans as he became the fastest Pakistani to take 50 wickets in ODIs, in just his 24th outing. He beat the Pakistan record of his childhood idol Waqar Younis, who reached the mark in 27 ODIs. Since his ODI debut in August 2016, Hasan has been the most prolific bowler in 50-over international cricket, and now has 40 wickets in 16 games this year – the most by anyone.
Sri Lanka were sitting pretty at 102 for 1 after Dickwella (18 in 26) and Upul Tharanga had given them a brisk 59-run start. It was Hasan, who provided Pakistan the breakthrough, getting Dickwella bowled off the inside edge.
Tharanga had started from where he left off in the second ODI, when he scored 112 not out in a losing cause, adding 43 for the second wicket with Dinesh Chandimal.
Shadab Khan then started the wicket slide, which saw Sri Lanka lose their last nine wickets for just over 100 runs. Shadab dismissed Chandimal (19 in 49) and then Tharanga (61 in 80), before Hasan wrecked the middle-order with wickets of Chamara Kapugedera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Akila Dananjaya and Dushmanta Chameera to improve on his previous best of 5-38 against Windies in Guyana in April this year.
Lahiru Thirimanne with 28 and Perera with a quick 37-ball 38 gave the total some meat but Hasan’s exploits had already put Pakistan in front, which the batsmen – led by Imam – built on.